SCC: Watkins Glen: Automatic Racing preview

Automatic Racing Aiming for Fourth Podium at Watkins Glen WATKINS GLEN, NY -- Automatic Racing's Jeff Segal and Jep Thornton hope to make their fourth podium appearance of the KONI Challenge season during this weekend's 400-kilometer race ...

Automatic Racing Aiming for Fourth Podium at Watkins Glen

WATKINS GLEN, NY -- Automatic Racing's Jeff Segal and Jep Thornton hope to make their fourth podium appearance of the KONI Challenge season during this weekend's 400-kilometer race at Watkins Glen International. The No. 09 Fresh from Florida BMW M3 has been on the podium three times this year, and both drivers are anxious to do it again.

Thornton has done well at Watkins Glen in previous years, and two years ago he earned a top-ten finish there. "The last race I ran at Watkins Glen was pretty good," said Thornton. "Jeff has a lot of laps there, so we're doing some work on the car before this round. We're both looking forward to going back to The Glen."

Segal drove at Watkins Glen two weeks ago, driving in the Rolex Series round. He said that transitioning back to KONI Challenge there is "completely different because it's a really fast track, and it's a lot different in the M3," he said. "We're still going to have a battle with the Mustangs. Having a well-balanced car will be necessary."

Tom Long and David Russell will be looking for another top finish to go with the fifth they earned at Mid-Ohio two weeks ago in the No. 99 Automatic/Fresh from Florida BMW. They have consistently been one of the fastest cars on track this year, but a string of bad luck has plagued them before the checkered flag. At Mid-Ohio, that luck finally turned around, when Long and Russell finished fifth.

"We just want a little bit of luck," said Russell. "We've had the car to run up front all year, but we've just had some bad luck. Our qualifying positions have been top five all year, and we want more race finishes to go with that."

For Long, going to Watkins Glen is an experience both on and off the track. "I love the area," he said. "It's a neat setting and there is such history at that track. It's really one of the best tracks in the U.S. We hope to be fast right from the start and to keep the car up front all weekend."

Tim George, Jr. and Conrad Grunewald want to continue earning top-ten finishes in the No. 91 BMW. Watkins Glen has special meaning for George, and his past success there bodes well for his race this weekend. "I had my first win ever there so of course I look forward to going back," he said. "In the past few weeks I've gotten a pole for the Skip Barber Masters National and had a test in a GT car there, so I have some recent track time. I feel like it will be a good result for us if we can get through cleanly."

Jon Miller and Serge Glazunov will be in the No. 90 Automatic BMW, and they, too, are looking for some more luck.

The KONI Challenge race at Watkins Glen starts at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 7.

-credit: ar

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Skip Barber , Tom Long , Jeff Segal , Conrad Grunewald , Jon Miller , David Russell
Teams Automatic Racing